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Banana Ripening

By Edited May 9, 2015 2 4

Bananas have been referred to as “the world’s most popular fruit,” and “the world’s most popular tropical fruit”. The most commonly sold banana worldwide is the Dwarf Cavendish. The name does not refer to the size of the fruit, but to the height of the plant (pseudostem) the bananas grow on. The reason for its commercial success is its long shelf life.

Bananas ripen naturally for as long as they stay on the plant. They transition through 7 stages as they ripen

Stage 1 – All green: Freshly picked bananas.

Stage 2 - Green with a trace of yellow: Initial stage of the ripening process, however there is still some time before they are ready to eat.

Stage 3 - More green than yellow: As the skin changes colour, the starches inside turn to sugars. This is the earliest stage that most retailers will sell bananas at.

Stage 4 - More yellow than green: A creamy texture starts developing and the natural sugar content rises. This is the most ideal stage to sell bananas at.

Stage 5 - Yellow with a trace of green: Ideal stage to eat bananas. The fruit is sweet, creamy and firm on the inside. Most retailers will sell bananas at this stage.

Stage 6 - All yellow: At the peak of freshness now, and delicious to eat. The fruit is also starting to soften as it ages and is heading towards its top sugar content. This is the latest stage most retailers will sell bananas at.

Stage 7 - Yellow with brown speckles: At the final stage of banana ripening, the skin develops black or brown sugar spots and the inside reaches its sugar peak and goes mushy.


Once they are picked bananas will not ripen further, unless sprayed with ethylene gas. Exposure to the gas will restart the ripening process, until the bananas themself start producing it, which sees the process to the end.  

Ethylene is also released from apples as they ripen.

banana ripening
Credit: Soltani M, Alimardani R, Omid M. Journal of Food Engineering 2011:105(4);625–631.


Mar 3, 2013 9:18am
Bananas with yellow speckles,are they good to eat?
I found that bananas can't be kept for too long like apples and pineapples.
Thanks for the health info.
Mar 3, 2013 10:39am
Yellow bananas with speckles are ok for eating (they are quite sweet and soft), but they are ideal for baking. See more info here: http://www.infobarrel.com/3_Healthy_Cake_Recipes
Mar 8, 2013 2:50am
Bananas never go to waste in my house. If they get a little past their prime, we put them in the freezer until we need them for banana muffins or some other baking need. We don't even thaw them out. Just cut the end off and squeeze the frozen banana into the blender. Works great.
Mar 8, 2013 2:56am
Yes freezing bananas is also a good idea. Frozen bananas (or berries) are also good for making smoothies - another filling and healthy treat. Like you say, there is no need to thaw them. For smoothies, frozen fruit is even better than fresh.
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